Who Bought Our Government? A Look At How Money Talks Edward Ehlert November 12, 2011
Who Bought Our Government? <ul><li>US politics is massively influenced by money </li></ul><ul><li>Several ways for money t...
Interest Groups <ul><li>Often referred to as  special interest groups,   pressure groups , and  lobby groups. </li></ul><u...
What Do Interest Groups Do? <ul><li>Educate – Inform public of relevant issues & laws, proposed & existing </li></ul><ul><...
Influential Interest Groups <ul><li>American Israeli Lobby (AIPAC) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Most influential lobby impactin...
Special Interest Money <ul><li>Raise money through donations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Donors aren't only members; there are p...
 
 
Lobbying <ul><li>Origin of the Term </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gathering of members of British Parliament & peers in the lobbie...
Lobbying <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to solicit or try to influence the votes of members of a legislative bod...
What Do Lobbyists Do? <ul><li>Explain issues & viewpoints of organization & persuade legislators to pass favorable legisla...
When Lobbying Goes Wrong  <ul><li>Jack Abramoff Indian Lobbying Scandal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jack Abramoff & Michael Scan...
 
 
The Revolving Door <ul><li>Former federal employees, staffers, & representatives become lobbyists, & in turn lobbyists bec...
 
Political Action Committees (PACs) <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A private group organized to elect political c...
PAC Contribution Limits <ul><li>Individual contributions are limited to $5,000 per year </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliated PACs ...
Types of PACs <ul><li>Connected PACs  – Majority of PACs, formed by corporations, unions, etc. Can only receive money from...
Citizens United v. FEC <ul><li>Ruling in 2010, allows corporations & unions to legally contribute funds to “independent ex...
 
 
 
 
 
527s <ul><li>Named after Subsection 527 of IRS code </li></ul><ul><li>Created to influence election of candidates on all l...
527s <ul><li>Many PACs have a 527 wing </li></ul><ul><li>Famous 527s include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Republican & Democrati...
 
 
 
 
Conclusion <ul><li>There's many ways for those with money influence politics </li></ul><ul><li>Both political parties play...
Sources <ul><li>OpenSecrets.org for all statistical graphs & lists </li></ul><ul><li>The following Wikipedia pages (source...
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Who Bought Our Government?

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A look at who uses money to influence politics, how that money is used, and how much money is spent.

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Who Bought Our Government?

  1. 1. Who Bought Our Government? A Look At How Money Talks Edward Ehlert November 12, 2011
  2. 2. Who Bought Our Government? <ul><li>US politics is massively influenced by money </li></ul><ul><li>Several ways for money to influence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest Groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lobbyists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political Action Committees (PACs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>527s </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Interest Groups <ul><li>Often referred to as special interest groups, pressure groups , and lobby groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Represent a wide variety of special interests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Political (Democratic & Republican politics & individual candidates) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic (Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious (Christian Coalition, Freedom From Religion) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moral (Focus on the Family) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Movements (Human Rights) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What Do Interest Groups Do? <ul><li>Educate – Inform public of relevant issues & laws, proposed & existing </li></ul><ul><li>Organize – Demonstrations, Get out the vote, other special events </li></ul><ul><li>Watchdog – Oversight of government and industries, report to membership </li></ul><ul><li>Lobby – Directly influence politicians </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all interest groups lobby, though </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IRS-designated distinction between lobbying and advocacy </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Influential Interest Groups <ul><li>American Israeli Lobby (AIPAC) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Most influential lobby impacting US relations with Israel” (New York Times) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Center for Auto Safety </li></ul><ul><li>Greenpeace </li></ul><ul><li>National Rifle Association (NRA) </li></ul><ul><li>People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) </li></ul><ul><li>Sierra Club </li></ul>
  6. 6. Special Interest Money <ul><li>Raise money through donations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Donors aren't only members; there are plenty of “free riders!” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use money to help get sympathetic candidates elected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct donation to campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Endorsement advertisements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attack advertisements on opponents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most groups are not affiliated with campaigns to avoid spending limits </li></ul></ul>
  7. 9. Lobbying <ul><li>Origin of the Term </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gathering of members of British Parliament & peers in the lobbies of Houses of Parliament before & after debates. (BBC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ulysses S. Grant described political “wheelers & dealers” that frequented the lobby of Willard Hotel to meet him there, where he often had cigars & brandy. (NPR) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 10. Lobbying <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to solicit or try to influence the votes of members of a legislative body </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How does it differ from general advocacy? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct Lobbying - Lobbyists ask legislators or the employees of a legislator directly to take a stance on a specific legislation, whether or not it has already been introduced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grassroots Lobbying – Interest group urges general public to take action on legislation, often to contact legislators </li></ul></ul>
  9. 11. What Do Lobbyists Do? <ul><li>Explain issues & viewpoints of organization & persuade legislators to pass favorable legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Relays information back to organization </li></ul><ul><li>Write legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Act as “whips” (enforce party voting loyalty) </li></ul><ul><li>Can influence the courts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File amicus curiae (friend of the court), offering unsolicited testimony that can be admitted by the court, regarding a case that affects a law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NAACP filed amicus curiae in 1950s that helped overturn segregation laws </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. When Lobbying Goes Wrong <ul><li>Jack Abramoff Indian Lobbying Scandal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jack Abramoff & Michael Scanlon worked for Native American casino interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over-billed clients $85 million, secretly splitting profits </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Orchestrated with Ralph Reed & Grover Norquist to lobby against own clients to force them to pay more for lobbying services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Illegally gave gifts (fancy dinners, trips, etc) & campaign donations for votes & support using ill-gotten funds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lobbyists linked directly & indirectly to representatives from both parties (2/3 Republican, 1/3 Democrat). </li></ul></ul>
  11. 15. The Revolving Door <ul><li>Former federal employees, staffers, & representatives become lobbyists, & in turn lobbyists become employees, staffers, & even representatives </li></ul><ul><li>Lawmakers-turned-lobbyists used privileges for access to “members only” areas of House & Senate, including the floors & House gym </li></ul><ul><li>Often use revolving door privileges to award their firm or employer special contracts & legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Today, former government officials must wait an arbitrary amount of time before using the “revolving door,” although this rule usually does not apply to high-level officials (ie Dick Cheney, Karl Rove) </li></ul>
  12. 17. Political Action Committees (PACs) <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A private group organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PACs designation for the receiving or spending of $1,000 or more </li></ul><ul><li>Necessary for an interest group, union, or corporation to contribute to candidates & parties. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporations & unions cannot contribute directly under law, but can sponsor PACs & cover administration & fundraising costs. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 18. PAC Contribution Limits <ul><li>Individual contributions are limited to $5,000 per year </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliated PACs (corporate, union) can only solicit contributions from their members (“restricted class”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent PACs can solicit from general public, but must cover costs with those contributions & cannot be sponsored by a corporation or union </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PACs not coordinated with a candidate's campaign are not limited by federal law </li></ul>
  14. 19. Types of PACs <ul><li>Connected PACs – Majority of PACs, formed by corporations, unions, etc. Can only receive money from “restricted class.” </li></ul><ul><li>Non-connected PACs – Fastest growing of PACs, include single-issue & ideological groups. Can receive money from from any individual, PAC, or organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership PACs – Created by member of Congress to support other candidates. Classified as non-connected PACs. Cannot directly support campaigns, but can cover administrative costs like travel, consultants, polling, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Super PACs – Spawned from Citizens United , aka “independent expenditure committees.” Can raise unlimited funds from any individual, corporation, or union. Cannot coordinate with parties or campaigns and must disclose names of donors. </li></ul>
  15. 20. Citizens United v. FEC <ul><li>Ruling in 2010, allows corporations & unions to legally contribute funds to “independent expenditures.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes advertisements that call for the election or defeat of a candidate while not being coordinated with any candidate or party </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Speechnow v. FEC used Citizens United logic to remove limits on “independent expenditure committees.” </li></ul>
  16. 26. 527s <ul><li>Named after Subsection 527 of IRS code </li></ul><ul><li>Created to influence election of candidates on all levels of government (not just federal) </li></ul><ul><li>Tax exempt </li></ul><ul><li>No contribution limits or restrictions on who can contribute </li></ul><ul><li>Must file with IRS, disclose donors, and file reports on contributions & expenditures </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot advocate for specific candidates or coordinate with a campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Used primarily to raise money for issue advocacy & GotV efforts </li></ul>
  17. 27. 527s <ul><li>Many PACs have a 527 wing </li></ul><ul><li>Famous 527s include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Republican & Democratic Governors Associations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizens United </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>American Crossroads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Education Association </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Swift Boat Veterans for Truth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Club for Growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MoveOn.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EMILY's List </li></ul></ul>
  18. 32. Conclusion <ul><li>There's many ways for those with money influence politics </li></ul><ul><li>Both political parties play the game </li></ul><ul><li>No one person has bought our government. Instead, the wealthiest Americans (and in many cases, foreigners) pour money into interest groups, lobbyists, PACs, and 527s. </li></ul><ul><li>Some hide behind anonymity, others bask in plain sight. </li></ul><ul><li>What conclusion have YOU made regarding the numbers? </li></ul>
  19. 33. Sources <ul><li>OpenSecrets.org for all statistical graphs & lists </li></ul><ul><li>The following Wikipedia pages (sources examined to ensure validity) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lobbying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lobbying in the United States </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revolving Door (politics) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political Action Committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>527 organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal </li></ul></ul>

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